Now more than ever, we’re seeing the need for programs to improve police-community relations. There are many mutual benefits when law enforcement and the communities they serve can work in more collaborative ways. Unfortunately, there are also many obstacles to fostering this improved relationship given the nature of the role of law enforcement. Conflict stemming from reactivity does not have to be one of those obstacles, however. Pollack Peacebuilding Systems offers training programs for those who work in high-stress, public-facing positions, including methods for managing negative impacts of that stress so it doesn’t reverberate out into the community. For police officers, we have developed a variety of support programs to help improve their relationships with the communities they serve. Contact us today for immediate help.
How We Help Improve Police-Community Relations
PPS offers several programs that provide insights and tools to help those who may be required to handle aggressive individuals or who may attend to emotionally escalated, and even dangerous, situations. Some of our programs to improve police-community relations include:
- Conflict resolution training
- De-escalation training
- Facilitated community dialogues
- Police-community mediation services
- Customized programs
Using Empirical Psychological Data to Inform Practical Programs
PPS supports the design and implementation of programs using principles of social psychology and intergroup contact, which is to say interactions between people from different social groups. By using these structures of psychology, we can address common prejudices, misunderstandings, and assumptions without blame or judgment, and use these lessons as a tool of deeper understanding.
Unpredictable and high-stress situations can leave law enforcement officers on heightened alert during routine calls. This stress and hypervigilance can decrease an individual’s effectiveness in responding quickly, with fear overriding their response system. Identifying some of the unconscious assumptions that heighten that fear can help reduce mistakes and opportunities for unneeded conflict.
For example, in PPS’ De-escalation Training, learning the different types of aggression as well as underlying causes and self-regulation tactics can provide workshop members a feeling of confidence in their ability to keep a bad situation from getting worse and to manage their own emotional reactions in the process. This, among other services to improve policing, are provided by PPS and customized for every department and community.
The Important of Police Community Relations
Police community relations are of increasing importance because the police are part of the community, whether individual officers live in the community they serve or not. By putting on a uniform and reporting to calls in a neighborhood, you’ve become part of that community. Handling that responsibility with as much care as possible is critical in maintaining public safety and trust. Law enforcement often relies on the cooperation of community members, either as witnesses or holders of information that can be beneficial to the safety of the public. So the perception they hold of police officers is critical.
Police officers who reflect the values of the community in which they serve often receive that cooperation from individuals in those communities. This is why it’s important for law enforcement to take seriously their duty to build trust in the areas they serve and protect.
Benefits to the Community
Programs to improve police-community relations benefit the community by decreasing fear and stress, especially, in a community where the presence of law enforcement increases the anxiety of its citizens. A decrease in this anxiety can regulate potential conflict before it begins, as community members and law enforcement alike won’t have to approach routine business as though it was a matter of life or death.
Learning how to improve police-community relations is a noble effort that has impacts across the board.
Improving police-community relations also helps keep those with the power accountable to the ways in which they serve and protect, and with accountability and more transparency comes trust. Communities should never have to live in fear that it will be a police officer who erupts emotionally and harms a citizen, and our programs can help reduce those instances.
Benefits to the Police Department
Police departments across the country may be presented with unpredictable situations that could feel overwhelming or dangerous. Emotions understandably run high when you feel that your safety or the safety of those around you is in jeopardy. The trainings, facilitated dialogues, and intervention programs provided by Pollack Peacebuilding Systems offer clear and straightforward tactics that can be practiced and implemented in any department.
These programs to improve police-community relations can benefit police departments by decreasing or de-escalating conflicts that may garner negative consequences, keeping law enforcement and the community in what may seem like an ongoing battle. Our programs can also improve overall public opinion about law enforcement agencies, where children grow up with respect, instead of fear, of uniformed police and therefore engage in a more amicable relationship.
Safety can also be gained for law enforcement agents with improved community relations. With better relationships and trust, comes safer relationships. Training offers additional benefits for police officers including:
- Recognizing early warning signs of aggressive behavior before it escalates
- Managing your own emotional needs and how to remain safe
- Slowing down intense emotional reactivity
- Techniques for calming individuals and oneself
- Utilizing the proper body language, tone, and phrasing to de-escalate the situation
- Handling dangerous situations with the priority of keeping everyone involved as safe as possible.
Police community relationships programs are important in maintaining as much cohesion as possible between law enforcement and the citizens they serve and protect. By addressing underlying emotional reactions, learning new skills, and combining those processes on the front lines, law enforcement officers can impact positive change in their communities, and harmful divides can be bridged.
Pollack Peacebuilding Systems focuses on resolving conflict and enhancing relationships in organizations, as the two go hand-in-hand. Our services provide insight on how to prevent and diffuse conflict rather than ignore or escalate problems that can put individuals at risk. Contact Pollack Peacebuilding Systems today to for programs to improve police-community relations.